A lot of people have been critical of Disney’s insistence on making live-action remakes of every animated film in its vault, if only because it’s as desperate as it is creatively bankrupt, but there’s another reason why it doesn’t sit well with some people: Some of those old Disney movies have aged very poorly, to the extent that we might be better off not resurrecting them and reintroducing them to new generations.
One such movie is Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, a film that probably deserves some kind of disclaimer like the ones that Disney+ added to Peter Pan and Dumbo, especially since a controversy rose up surrounding a Snow White ride at Disneyland simply because it retold the exact plot of the movie. But no, Snow White is a beloved Disney property, no matter how poorly it may have aged, and so the company is moving forward with a live-action remake starring West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler and directed by Marc Webb (currently attached to the similarly necessary live-action remake of anime hit Your Name).
This week, Peter Dinklage stopped by Marc Maron’s WTF podcast to explain why he thinks that’s such a bad idea: “There’s a lot of hypocrisy going on,” he said. “Literally no offense to anyone, but I was a little taken aback when they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White. But you’re still telling the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.” Dinklage says Disney—though he didn’t know it was Disney doing the remake when he made these comments—is so eager to be “progressive in one way” but at the same time it’s “still making that fucking backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together.”
“Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soap box?” Dinklage asked, concluding, “I guess I’m not loud enough.” He conceded that he’d be excited to see a “fucked up, cool, or progressive spin” on the story, but he can’t believe Disney would want to just do a straight remake of the old Snow White.
Variety points out that Disney hasn’t said anything about how it’s going to handle the dwarfs in the new Snow White, as the project was just announced last summer, but it seems safe to assume that Disney didn’t have anything “fucked up” in mind for this. Some of the live-action remakes have made tweaks to the original, like Tim Burton’s Dumbo removing the crows, but the dwarfs are kind of integral to the plot of Snow White—they’re in the title, for one thing—so doing this right would require a more complex approach. We’ll see what happens as the new Snow White moves forward.
UPDATE (1/25/22): Disney has now responded to Dinklage comments on the Snow White remake, with The Hollywood Reporter sharing the following statement (which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t actually say a whole lot):
To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community. We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.
The basic translation, as indicated by the reference to a “lengthy development period,” is: “We don’t know yet, we’re working on it.” So at least Disney is aware that it needs to do something about this movie.